The following information is provided as guidance on the preparation of resolutions. The principles are generally applicable to groups preparing resolutions for eventual Association action.
ASHA's Bylaws describe the purposes for which ASHA was organized. Resolutions proposed must be compatible with those purposes and, as appropriate, any applicable Strategic Objectives/Strategic Initiatives in ASHA's Strategic Pathway to Excellence.
Only in the most unusual circumstances should a group develop a resolution when the policy or practice recommended is already established or followed by the Association. Resolutions will be developed that propose actions that are possible and practical within the Association's current structure or policy. The Vice Presidents and National Office staff should be consulted on Association policy and practices before any effort is made to draft a resolution. Checking on existing Association policy and practice may avoid a great deal of wheel-spinning.
Insofar as it is possible, resolutions should be written in the active voice and should make clear "who does what to whom." Likewise, it is necessary to state "when" something is to be done or accomplished.
The "resolved" statement must be able to stand entirely on its own without the necessity of being accompanied by explanatory statements. Therefore, the resolved statements should not contain such words as "information" or "such actions" or "that report," etc. unless it is absolutely clear in the resolved statement what the information is, or what the action is, or what the report is.
The Association has established mechanisms for accomplishing many of its activities. The Association has established committees, boards, and councils, and other working groups, some of which have authority to take actions and operate within the confines of established policy. Additionally, the Association has established a variety of communication vehicles that can be used to distribute information to members. As a general rule, if a committee, board, council, or working group determines that an action can be accomplished through one of these existing structures, they are advised to deal with the issue through these avenues rather than through the mechanism of writing a resolution and presenting it for consideration.
If the purpose for proposing a resolution is not generally understood and clear, the rationale statement on the resolution form should spell out, in a logical and positive sequence, both the statement of the problem and the reasoning which leads clearly and directly to the solution-the "resolved" statement. In many instances, however, the rationale for a resolved statement will be understood and accepted and in these instances, the statements should be rather general and limited.
The rationale statement must not misstate Association policy. That is, no error of fact should exist within the statement. No matter how useful the proposed resolution, no affirmative action can be taken on a resolution if the statements supporting the resolution contain any error of fact. A resolution for action cannot be considered, however important, if the rationale statement includes expressions of personal emotion, bias, or attitude. Such personal expressions tend to lack objectivity and interfere with the presentation of a logical, factual, concise rationale for the resolution.
Committees, boards, councils, and other working groups must consider and determine, insofar as possible, the cost to the Association of the action proposed. National Office ex officios are responsible for preparing budgetary information in consultation with committee/board/council chairs.
If the resolution relates to past or present ASHA activity or policy, the rationale statements should give adequate recognition to the relationship as well as to the activity or policy. Unless the resolution takes cognizance of what has been done or is being done, the reader of the resolution may conclude that the writer of the resolution is not fully informed. In many instances, a resolution requests that more of something be accomplished by the Association. However, if the resolution only states that "something should be done," without giving credit to that which has been done, a completely different view of the resolution may be taken than was intended by the writer.
Though the rationale statement may present the logic for a given resolution and though the outcome statement is appropriately stated, it may not be clear how a given resolution outcome could be accomplished. If the drafters of a resolution have an understanding of how their request may be accomplished or how they desire that it be accomplished, they should describe the mechanisms and procedures. Frequently such detail will be essential before the cost of the proposal can be determined. Resolution writers are urged to consider the mechanisms for accomplishing the task as well as the potential cost of the project. Such pieces of information should be provided whenever possible.
If necessary, resolutions should be accompanied by appended background statements that make clear the need for the resolution.
See also: Resolutions Process